President Donald Trump defended Narendra Modi against protesters of a new law that they claim is anti Muslim, saying the Prime Minister wants ‘religious freedom.’
‘He wants people to have religious freedom,’ said Trump at a press conference on Tuesday.
The president wrapped up his two-day visit to India with a solo press conference. He and the prime minister made a joint public statement earlier Tuesday but Modi has never held a press conference as prime minister.
President Trump and Melania Trump capped their 36 hours on the ground in India at a state dinner at the presidential palace with President Ram Nath Kovind and his wife Savita Kovind.
Indian President Ram Nath Kovind and his wife Savita Kovind stand with President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump as they arrive for a state banquet at Rashtrapati Bhavan
President Donald Trump defended Narendra Modi against protesters of a new law that they claim is anti Muslim
Shops engulfed in flames set ablaze by supporters of a new citizenship law during clashes between two groups over the Citizenship Amendment Act
Demonstrators shout slogans during a protest against the the law that makes it tougher for Muslims to become citizens
As the Trumps’ state visit was happening, violent protests broke out in Delhi on Monday over a new citizenship law that critics say discriminates against Muslims.
Parliament approved the citizenship law in December that provides fast-track naturalization for some foreign-born religious minorities but not Muslims.
At least 7 people were killed and about 150 injured in the clashes that took place in another part of the Delhi, not close to where Modi is hosting Trump.
Police fired tear gas and used canes to subdue the crowds.
Trump declined to discuss the new Indian law.
‘I don’t want to discuss that. I want to leave that to India,’ he said. But he added that he privately had raised the issue of religious freedom with Modi.
The president had once proposed temporarily barring all Muslims from entering the U.S. and later successfully implemented a travel ban on seven majority-Muslim countries.
The trip ended with no end in sight for the trade war between the two nations.
Trump said ‘tremendous advancements’ was made in the talks with Modi.
Both leaders were effusive in their praise for one another but underneath the glowing words were the stark reality that Modi’s lavish welcome for the president didn’t result in a deal.
The prime minister struck an uplifting note.
‘We are confident this will lead to good results,’ Modi said of their talks.
And President Trump thanked his counter part for the warm welcome he and first lady Melania Trump received.
‘We’ll always remember the magnificent welcome the citizens of your home state showed us upon arrival. It was a profound expression of strength and love. Really it was love,’ he said.
President Donald Trump offers floral respects, with first lady Melania Trump standing beside him, at Raj Ghat, the memorial for Mahatma Gandhi
Melania Trump throws flower petals onto Gandhi’s memorial
Trump offers floral respects at Raj Ghat, the memorial for Mahatma Gandhi on Tuesday
Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump offer floral respects at Raj Ghat
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump lay a wreath to pay their tribute at Raj Ghat, the memorial for Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi
Donald Trump said ‘tremendous advancements’ was made in trade talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi
President Donald Trump and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi embrace during a joint press statement at the prime minister’s residence
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with President Donald Trump head of their meeting at Hyderabad House
Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks as President Donald Trump listens during a joint press statement at Hyderabad House
White House senior advisors Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner arrive at Hyderabad House for trade talks
A man is beaten during a clash between people supporting a new citizenship law and those opposing the law in New Delhi
Shops engulfed in flames set ablaze by supporters of a new citizenship law during clashes between two groups over the Citizenship Amendment Act in Delhi
He called the 36 hours he spent on the ground in India ‘productive.’
‘I know Prime Minister Modi will agree this has been a very productive visit for both of our countries,’ the president said.
And he noted ‘tremendous advancements’ were made in trade talks.
‘Prime Minister Modi, we have made tremendous advancements over the past two days and I know our two nations will continue to achieve new breakthroughs, unlock new potential and forge even brighter futures in the years ahead. We think we’re at a point where our relationship is special with India. I think the leaders of each country, we feel strongly about each other and we have done something that’s very unique and made some wonderful deals for each of our countries,’ Trump added.
A trade war that erupted after the president levied tariffs on steel and aluminium from India. India responded with higher tariffs on agricultural goods and restrictions on U.S. medical devices. In retaliation, Trump stripped the country of its preferential export status.
The two leaders agreed the U.S. would sell apache helicopters to India in addition to signing understandings on mental health and drug products along with a letter of cooperation between India and Exxon Mobil.
Trump, who has called Modi a friend, said relations between the United States and India have ‘never been as good as it is right now.’
The two men spoke after a private bilateral lunch meeting between them. The statements gave Modi the image he wanted – making a statement with Trump – without the prime minister having to take questions from the press.
Trump held a solo news conference later Tuesday.
President Trump and Melania Trump received a lavish welcome Tuesday at the Rashtrapati Bhavan Presidential Palace and then paid tribute to famous Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi, laying a wreath at the spot of his cremation and tossing flower respects onto the memorial.
‘The last two days have been amazing in every sense of the word,’ President Trump told reporters of his state visit.
The morning of their second day in India was filled with pomp and circumstance that was bound to appeal to the president’s love of ceremony. It included cannons, uniformed guards on horse back and a tribute to the revered Indian leader.
The day began at the terra cotta presidential palace, a massive 340-room structure surrounded by 320 acres of gardens, where Indians officials rolled out the red carpet and placed flower pots around the area to greet the first couple.
Red-uniformed guards on horseback led the presidential limoscene into the compound as cannons thundered to announce President Trump’s arrival.
The guards carried bayonets and wore long red coats and blue and gold turbans. They trotted their horses in step surrounding The Beast, as the armored car carrying the president is known.
Melania Trump wore a white dress with flowers and a red belt for the occasion. She stood beside Modi as President Trump reviewed the troops.
Indian President Ram Nath Kovind and his wife Savita Kovind welcomed the Trumps to the palace.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump met at Hyderabad House – the prime minister’s residence in New Delhi – to discuss the trade war between the two nations
President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India’s President Ram Nath Kovind and his wife Savita Kovind at the ceremonial welcome
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump walk with India’s President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the welcome ceremony
President Donald Trump during the ceremonial reception at the forecourt of India’s Rashtrapati Bhavan Presidential Palace
President Donald Trump inspects honor guards during the ceremonial reception at the forecourt of India’s Rashtrapati Bhavan Presidential Palace
President Trump turns after reviewing a long line of Indian troops in baby blue, white and green
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump plant a tree in the gardens near Gandi’s memorial
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump pose before a meeting at Hyderabad House, the prime minister’s residence
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves as he arrives to welcome President Trump
White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump arrive at Rashtrapati Bhavan, the presidential palace
Guards on horses escorted the Trumps’ car into the palace
About 50 chairs were set up under a red and gold canopy for dignitaries to observe the ceremony.
Those viewers included Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, White House adviser Stephen Miller, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, U.S. Ambassador to India Ambassador Kenneth Juster, and National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien.
A long procession of military soldiers, grouped by uniform color — first baby blue, then white, then olive green — entered with a band playing behind them and then stood at attention in front of the presidential palace.
Trump stood with his hand over his heart while ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ played, followed by the Indian National Anthem. He then walked a red carpet past the troops.
President Kovind introduced the president and first lady to the official Indian delegation. Trump then introduced Kovind to the American delegation.
The first couple then went to the Raj Ghat, a memorial dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi.
They removed their shoes for the occasion, walking in sock feet to the black marble platform that marks the spot of Gandhi’s cremation, which took place a day after his assassination in January 1948.
An eternal flame burns at one end of the platform, which is covered in flowers.
The Trumps placed a large white flower wreath on the memorial and then tossed red and yellow flower petals onto it.
They signed a guest book and received a bust of Gandhi.
They planted a tree in one of the gardens surrounding the memorial.
The rest of the day will be filled with meetings as President Trump and Prime Minister Modi work on a trade agreement between their respective nations. The two leaders met for a closed-door luncheon at Hyderabad House.
Later in the day, the Trumps will visit staff at the U.S. embassy before attending a state dinner in the evening.
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive to pay their tribute at Raj Ghat, the memorial for Indian independence icon Mahatma Gandhi
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump attend a wreath laying ceremony at Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial at Raj Ghat
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump lay a wreath at the memorial for Mahatma Gandhi
President Trump throws flower petals in tribute to Gandhi
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump pay tribute to Mahatma Gandhi at his memorial
President Donald Trump and India’s President Ram Nath Kovind shake hands
Ivanka Trump speaks with an Indian officer as they wait for a ceremonial welcome for President Trump
President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India’s President Ram Nath Kovind and his wife Savita Kovind greet each other during the arrival ceremony
White House senior advisors Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner arrive at Hyderabad House – the prime minister’s residence
The Trumps are on the second and final day of their two-day state visit to India after a busy first day that consisted of a rally with Modi, a visit to Gandhi’s home and a visit to one of the most famous monuments in the world.
The first couple stopped by the Taj Mahal Monday evening, capping off their first day in India with a sunset visit to the world’s most famous monument to love.
They held hands as they posed for photographers and spent a few minutes staring at the white marble tomb as the sun started to dip below the horizon.
‘It’s incredible, truly incredible,’ Trump said. ‘Really incredible, an incredible place.’
Melania also weighed in: ‘Lovely, beautiful,’ she said.
The couple signed the guest book and walked through the gardens as part of their tour of the tomb, built by a 16th century emperor for his deceased wife.
‘Taj Mahal inspires awe, a timeless testament to the rich and diverse beauty of Indian culture! Thank you, India,’ the president wrote in the guest book. Melania Trump signed her name under her husband’s.
It is not the president’s first experience of a Taj Mahal; one of his Atlantic City casinos also held the name and after a checkered history of corporate bankruptcy, was sold to Carl Icahn in 2016, closed, and bought for just $50 million by the Seminole Indian tribe of Florida who have re-opened it as a Hard Rock casino and stripped it of its minarets and dome.
One thing appeared to be missing from the visit to the real Taj: monkeys.
There was no sign of the nearly 1,000 rhesus monkeys who live around the tomb and who sparked fears of a diplomatic incident should they act out. India put extra ‘monkey police’ – guards with sling shots – on duty to keep away the animals.
Donald and Melania Trump stopped by the Taj Mahal to cap off their first day in India
Birds fly in front of the Taj Mahal during President Trump and Melania Trump’s visit
The Trumps visited the famous monument at sunset
President Trump and Melania Trump pose in front of Taj Mahal
President Trump called the Taj Mahal ‘incredible’ while Melania Trump said it was ‘beautiful’
The president and first lady ended their first day in India at its most famous monument
President Trump and Melania Trump arrived in Delhi Monday night to spend the night
Melania Trump waves from the Beast as the president limo makes it way toward their hotel
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner also posed in front of the famous monument to love and then Kushner moved aside so Ivanka could get solo shots in front of the tomb.